Diocese of Rourkela
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Population


Predominant people in the diocese are various tribals like Oraon, Kharia, Munda, Kisan etc.

Language


The languages spoken are: Oriya, Sadri, Khadia, Munda, Kisan, Hindi and English.

History


Rourkela diocese was created on July 4, 1979 by taking the civil district of Sundargarh from the diocese of Sambalpur in the state of Orissa, eastern India. Divine Word Bishop Alphonse Bilung was appointed its first bishop. Divine Word Bishop Raphael Cheenath of Sambalpur, who stayed in Rourkela, moved his residence to Sambalpur, after the bifurcation.

The seeds of faith had been sown in the region by the Belgian Jesuit missioners from the neighbouring Ranchi diocese. The first tribals of the area went there to invite missioners, after hearing the missioners' work among their counterparts in the Ranchi region. People credit their faith to the famous Belgian Jesuit Missioner of Chhotanagpur (Ranchi) Father Constant Lievens. In 2008 the diocese will be celebrating the first centenary of the arrival of Catholic Faith in the region.

Gangpur is the first mission where the Belgian Jesuit missioners from Ranchi started. So the region was then known as Gangpur mission. Today it has given birth to two dioceses: Rourkela and Sambalpur.

Kesramal is the first parish opened by them in 1908. It has today a Catholic population of about 15,000.

Though the Belgian Jesuit missioners sowed the seeds of faith here, in 1948 the region was entrusted to the Divine Word (SVD) missioners.

The Catholics are mostly the tribals belonging to the Oraon, Munda, Kharia and Kissan communities. The Kissans are the latest converts. The missioners, as earlier, focus on the tribals. Besides evangelization, the missioners focus on the faith-formation, education and social development of the Catholics and others. The diocese gives also great importance to Small Christian Communities (SCC)

There are four deaneries: Rourkela, Rajgangpur, Birmitrapur, and Sundergarh.

Patroness of the dioceses is Our Lady of the Rosary.

Geography


The diocese is in the northwestern part of Orissa state in the eastern India. In a land area of 9,675 square kilometers lives a population of 1,829,412. The diocese has only one civil district: Sundergarh. Important cities are: Sundergarh and Rourkela. Sundergarh is the district headquarters. Urban agglomeration is in Rourkela. It is a highland, forest and semi-evergreen area.

Economy


People's main occupation is agriculture. Mostly they cultivate paddy. Rich minerals are found here, especially high quality iron ore. The famous Rourkela Steel Plant of Hindustan Steel Ltd is situated here. Industrialization, like the Steel Plant, has made rapid progress in the recent years in the area.

Education


Regional Engineering College (National Institute of Technology) at Rourkela is a prestigious educational centre in the state.

Culture


The languages spoken are: Oriya, Sadri, Khadia, Munda, Kisan, Hindi and English.

Wild animals are found here.

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